January 15, 2020
15 January 2020, VANCOUVER, BC - ChopValue Manufacturing Ltd, known for creating beautiful, sustainable products made entirely from used chopsticks, has raised $2.65m Pre-Series A Funding led by franchising, branding and impact funds, as well as a select group of high-profile angel investors.
ChopValue was founded by Felix Böck to assess the feasibility of creating a viable engineering and product design business model that relies 100% on an urban, under-utilized resource: chopsticks.
Using their microfactory concept - a fully circular, lean manufacturing process that fits within a 2,000 square feet location, ChopValue’s proof of concept was profitable in its first full year of operation in 2017, with 521% revenue growth through the end of 2019.
The company currently works with value-aligned corporate partners such as YVR Airport, Cadillac Fairview, MTY, Slack, EA Games, and Nature’s Path. Chopsticks have been collected from these and other partners and transformed into engineered products such as feature walls, food court tables and recycling stations. Over 25 million chopsticks have been recycled to date.
“It is truly validating to see Fulmer Capital, Mindset Ventures, Active Impact Investments, and other notable investors join the team to scale our business,” said Böck, Founder and CEO. “Their extensive network, combined expertise in franchising, brand building, and credibility in the industry will help us realize our mission of opening operations on a global scale. We can then further decrease our carbon footprint by having microfactories in multiple cities - truly being local, wherever our suppliers and customers may be.”
Sustainable financing, often referred to as impact investing within the circular economy, is a growing movement among venture capitalists that seek to address the effect of climate change. Mike Winterfield, Founder of Active Impact Investments, sees great opportunity in franchising the ChopValue concept, as rapidly scaling the business translates to more local jobs in trades and less transportation of goods.
“We invested in ChopValue not only because of Felix’s grand vision for the future, but also because he is a true thought leader in the circular economy space, and has built a world-class team with an incredibly strong culture,” said Winterfield.
Brian Curin, formerly Head of Growth for Cold Stone Creamery, commented, “When you have something this brilliant, it would be selfish to keep it to yourself. I’m grateful and proud that ChopValue is sharing this with the right strategic partners to accelerate the impact they can have on the world and future generations. For me, it was an easy decision to go all in with ChopValue, as one of Little Kitchen Academy’s global strategic partners, as a supporter, and as a director. I believe that every major market across the globe will benefit by having a ChopValue microfactory in its backyard.”
The fresh capital will be used to launch the microfactory franchising concept on a global scale with an initial focus on North America. ChopValue Los Angeles and New York will begin operations in Q3 this year, with the goal of opening 75 locations by 2025 to recycle 1.5 billion chopsticks annually. The company is actively seeking development partners who are interested in opening franchises in key areas to accommodate rising product demand.
“We believe in enabling local entrepreneurs to own their businesses,” said Yuri Fulmer, Founder of Fulmer Capital. “ChopValue’s transparent business model makes it simple to calculate the environmental benefits and how large the economic rewards can be through franchising to expand their market presence.”
ChopValue has established a Brand Accelerating Board, comprising of the following key directors of the business:
The headquarters in Vancouver will be housing a training facility for future microfactory franchisees, as well as an R&D and Testing Facility for equipment, new potential materials and products.
ChopValue provides product and design solutions with an innovative, high performance material made entirely from recycled chopsticks. Headquartered in Vancouver Canada, ChopValue was founded by Felix Böck in 2016 to transform used chopsticks to create beautiful, sustainable pieces while giving urban waste a second life.
The average disposable chopstick travels 6,000 miles for a 20 to 30 minute use. North America imports 40 to 50 Billion pairs per year, mainly from China.